I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Water and the River Murray on the Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Some residents of Port Lincoln are enduring unpleasant odours from the Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant. The fact sheets on the SA Water website advise that a specialist contractor was to arrive on site around 30 October and was expected to take up to four weeks to complete the work to dewater the biosolids, the sludge, which would assist with the scent. This issue has been going on for some time and my questions are:
1. Can the minister confirm whether the contractor arrived on site on 30 October?
2. Is it still expected to take four weeks?
3. What are SA Water's long-term plans to manage this issue?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:40): I thank the honourable member for her most important questions. Like her, I am aware that complaints have been made about odour emanating from the Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant. I am advised that the odour has been caused by operational issues associated with the management of the sludge lagoons at the plant. SA Water had previously been attempting to manage these issues on site but has now secured a contractor to remove the sludge in order to resolve the associated odour issue.
SA Water has acknowledged the issue and has sought to keep nearby residents informed through the distribution of flyers to the 200 residences closest to the treatment plant, in addition to placing the flyer on community noticeboards around Port Lincoln. SA Water has engaged a specialist company to dewater and remove the sludge from the lagoons, as the honourable member explained in her explanation. I understand that work will start in the near future with the first load of dewatered sludge and biosolids to be removed from site this month. This work will take several weeks to complete—so I guess the honourable member's 'four weeks' is about right.
SA Water has negotiated to deliver the biosolids to a composting company that can use the biosolids in their compost product. The composting company is licensed by the Environment Protection Authority to take the biosolids, and it is accepted practice for biosolids to be blended with other materials and used in compost. A further flyer with updated biosolids removal information was provided to 400 homes, I am advised, in the marina area, and the community noticeboards were updated.
SA Water will attempt to manage the odour issue while this work is being done by mixing the lagoons, spreading lime and the use of deodorising spray over the lagoons. However, nonetheless, this is obviously work which will necessarily involve some odour. We ask the residents of Port Lincoln to bear with us while we try to resolve the issue in the longer term.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:41): I have a supplementary question. Will the minister give a commitment that SA Water will keep their website up to date so that residents can be kept informed?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:41): Of course, I cannot give that commitment, but what I can do is to instruct SA Water that it is my very great wish that they do so.